Arabia: Comprising Its Geography, History, and Topography


Josiah Conder (1789–1855) was a British publisher and author who wrote or compiled 33 volumes of travel literature about nearly every region of the world, including the Middle East. Conder himself never traveled abroad and composed his works by drawing upon the writings of earlier scholars and explorers. As indicated in the subtitle, Conder organized his book on Arabia into sections. He begins by describing the topography of the different regions of Arabia and such climatic phenomena as the semoum (poison) winds that blow across the Syrian Desert in the summer. He follows with a long discussion of Arabian history, from the ancient pre-Islamic Himyarite Kingdom in Yemen (circa 110 BC–525 AD) to the rise of the Prophet Muhammad in the early seventh century, and only briefly discusses contemporary political events. The historical section of the work draws heavily on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1737–94) and the translation of the Qurʼan into English by George Sale (circa 1697–1736).

Last updated: April 16, 2015